Tag: writing

In which I continue to do a load of work for no money.

I am very busy for someone who isn’t getting paid.

Book.

One of the agents responded extremely quickly and sent my proposal to a professional reader so that they could compile a report. The report came back within a few hours. The reviewer liked the concept but was less keen on the execution. The agent wants me to rework the proposal. Most of the reader’s criticisms were things that I can recognise as valid and the remaining one just boiled down to their not being in possession of some facts that the proposal could have made more of. So there you go. I understand that being asked to rework and rework manuscripts and proposals is a good thing if you are a hopeful author as it means people are paying attention, they could have just said no. So I’ll just get on with that now, shall I.

Business.

I was in meetings for 3.5 hours today with the Company That Thinks I Am Wonderful, henceforth known as That Company. I was with a very senior dude and we talked for a long time about business models and finance. He said: (a) they do not have the mechanisms in place for the sort of business model that I would think is ideal, however (b) the person at That Company who wants me in their department is, I quote, “desperate” to get me to sign a contract and get me on board and therefore (c) I should feel okay about pressing that person to pay me as much as possible, as it is coming out of their budget. I was grateful for that. I don’t think that what I am asking for is excessive, measured against my value to the business. The senior dude also said some things like ‘don’t let this be a dealbreaker’ and ‘think ahead about the next 3-5 years, not just today’ but I have been to enough job interviews to recognise that as the sort of thing you say to someone when you want them to take their eyes off the money, but the money is important to me. I’m not 25 any more. So now I have to have another long meeting with the first person.

Other Business.

Because That Company is not the only company in the world and there are other companies that I actually own, I now have to spend this evening doing work for the latter, in the hope of raising some of that private sector funding that I can magnetically attract when I’m in the right mood and the wind is blowing in the right direction.

FFS.

One of these things needs to result in cash in my bank account as soon as possible. Being unpaid while on holiday in Spain was one thing, but being unpaid in London while continuing to work day and night is another matter.

Literary Agents

Things I have accomplished this week.

  • Seriously risked a perfectly good job offer by playing hardball over the salary. Further meetings are happening this week. They want me, I want them, but they need to make a significantly better offer, I’m not signing my career away just so that I can struggle to pay the mortgage.
  • Turned away a rich candidate for the Marriage project because I couldn’t handle his emotional needs. He was a nice man but I am not doing emotional nursing. Enough already. At 61 you should have found out how to take care of your own emotional needs, which doesn’t include clutching my hand and promising eternal fidelity, as though I should care.
  • Contacted five UK-based literary agents about my book proposal. I need to make a note for my own benefit:
    • Andrew Lownie of Andrew Lownie – I left him a voicemail today, 23 June, and need to follow up if he doesn’t call back.
    • Jane Judd of Jane Judd – as above.
    • Jane of Graham Maw Christie – we spoke on the phone, then I emailed her the proposal.
    • Michael Alcock of Johnson & Alcock – I emailed him the proposal.
    • Millie, the assistant of Caradoc King at United Agents – I emailed her the proposal.

I’ve also sent a cleaned-up version of the proposal to my friend in the US and she is going to show it to her contact at the US publishing company, apparently he is excited about it.

Wish me luck. See how bold I am becoming. I could have accepted a job that doesn’t pay enough and got into a relationship with a man who wants to hold hands and bare souls, but I rejected them both. Even though I am absolutely skint. Because the wrong offer is the wrong offer and I am prepared to struggle for a bit longer and hold out for the right offer, one that’s not going to ruin my life.

TLYW.

Life. More of it.

I am still alive.

I had to stop working on the book for a few days and do the other type of work that one hopes will turn into real money more quickly. I went to a meeting in Paris. They liked me. They said they would send me some work. I hope they really mean it.

I decided to continue with my 19th-century project of looking for a husband who can support me and I found a fairly rich business owner who is interested. We are having a very frank and plain discussion about what is on the table.

I am talking to the Honcho every day because if I got married I would have to let him go completely and the thought makes me feel like I want him by my side all the time, at least metaphorically.

I will let you know what happens.

More book news.

It’s like an addiction. I suppose it’s better than some of the alternatives.

The literary editor in the US read my proposal and said ‘it is right on target’ and ‘it is clear you know where you are going with this’. She wants a cleaned-up, edited and fully formatted version asap so she can show it to her friend the publisher.

My friend in the UK who works in digital publishing wants a clean copy as well. She says ‘it sounds really commercial’, which is a compliment, and she knows one or two people who publish non-fiction who she thinks should take a look at it.

I might as well just quickly edit it and clean it up for dispatch. That won’t take long. Right?

The book proposal is done.

That’s it, I’m done. In a total of 10 days, I’ve generated:

– Three sample chapters of 5,000 words each.

– Annotated table of contents, 4,000 words.

– Proposal with detailed marketing plan and promotions strategy, 9.000 words.

Of course, it all needs editing, there are now parts of the sample chapters that I want to rewrite, it all has to be formatted, produced as a professional-looking manuscript and then there’s the small matter of finding a literary agent. However, we are basically there. All the items above are completed and that is officially all a writer needs.

This proposal has reached completion in the nick of time. Other things in my life were starting to suffer, as if they were not already suffering enough. I urgently need to attend to some other matters now before they transition from painful to disastrous.

Marketing Plan

It is Saturday night and I am doggedly and systematically working on the book proposal, which is turning out to be quite long, quelle surprise. My editor friend says not to worry, detailed proposals are good. I am currently writing the Marketing Plan. I am not short of things to say about marketing as it is my speciality.

I will be beyond ecstatic if some publisher likes it. At this point I will be glad to go back to writing proposals for my normal business because they are shorter and require less mental effort.

In six or twelve months this will either be the best thing I ever did or else I will wonder why I suddenly wrote a book in the middle of economic collapse, when I could have been earning a wage in McDonalds. And the answer will be found in the big Life Plan that I diagrammed a few weeks ago, when the existential crisis I was having had not yet made itself felt in my bank balance. There were three major streams of activity. The middle one was ‘write a book, write the book you actually want to write, not the book you think you should write’. So that’s what I’ve done. I had to do it. I perhaps could have been doing other things but even if I can’t find a publisher for it right away, at least I wrote it and got a whole bunch of things off my chest. I can figure out alternative means of publishing it later.

Lesbians are usually quite broke.

It is June and I notice that summer is in full swing outside. I am not quite as engaged with it as one would hope, since I am experiencing a miniature economic crisis chez Gloria but I am not going to complain that the sun is shining.

I am staying on top of the to-do list, just about. It is massive. There is major domestic upheaval and it is a good job that my decluttering skills have become so advanced and that I think that keeping one’s belongings in plastic crates in the living room is normal. I am trying to get the business back on the road and have upcoming meetings and interviews as well as proposals to write. If even one proposal will turn into actual money then I will be all right for a few months. I am trying to stay calm and I am trying not to overload my diary with commitments, for fear of letting people down.

I work on the book. The proposal itself, excepting annotated table of contents and sample chapters, is expected to be about 3,500 or 4,000 words, not really very much when you consider that it is divided into about 8 sections.

I’ve just finished listening to the audio version of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. It is a magnificent book and I can’t think why I’ve never read any James before. It is late 19th century. A high-spirited young woman called Isabel Archer comes from America to stay with relatives in England. She turns down two good marriage proposals, one from an English Lord and one from a worthy and solid American suitor. Then her uncle dies and she unexpectedly inherits a fortune. Because she is headstrong and a bit insistent on having her own way, she then suddenly falls in love with and marries Gilbert Osmond, which turns out to be a regrettable decision, because he is petty and selfish and he only likes her in the same way that he likes furniture. It is, therefore, a classic 19th century novel, insofar as it deals with the problems of marriage and economic survival. Women generally had to secure the former to secure the latter. It certainly makes for dramatic fiction.

Here we are in 2015 and I have insisted on having my way, with the result that I am single, which I enjoy, and now my fortune is suddenly threatened. I am considering every possible option here. I could admit defeat and get married for the sake of achieving some financial security. It’s what somebody in the 19th century would do.

Just out of interest and for the sake of my imagination, I went to the website of an online dating service that I’ve personally never used because I know it to be conservative. When you are filling out your search request, where you specify what type of relationship you are looking for, the options include “I am very serious and I want to get married”. Just for science, I checked that option and then searched for men in London who are at least 40. Then I scanned the opening lines of their profiles and looked for key words referencing having a lot of money or a successful business.

I’m looking at one now. He is 45 and short, I guess neither of these things are his fault. He is a property developer and lists money and property as his main interests, okay, I could get down with that right about now, I have tax bills. He wants to get married. But then you look at the photos. He looks like a child. It’s not that he has a bad haircut or is out of shape, although both these things are true, it’s the desperate, child-like, needy expression he wears as he poses for the camera in a style that is intended to convey light-hearted fun. These people may have money but they are social and emotional paupers. They are charity cases. The government ought to do something for them.

I look at the guy’s photos again. He looks like a seven-year-old who’s excited because he has discovered the art of saving his pocket money and who desperately, urgently needs his mummy’s approval and recognition. Well done him. I imagine being married to him. My flesh crawls. Older, white, heterosexual men are by far the least attractive humans on the planet. Maybe I could become a lesbian. They’re usually quite broke, though. 1 Books point.